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Us 10, Vo 9, John 9, Spike Lee 8, Kafka 6, Paula Deen 5, America 5, Islam 5, Nyu 4, Martin Luther King 4, Brooklyn 3, U.s. 3, Georgia 3, Iran 3, Ahmadinejad 3, Malcolm 2, Cesar 2, Obama 2, United States 2, Caesar 's 2,
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  Current    Viewpoint    News/Business.   
   (2013) New. (CC) (Stereo)  

    August 8, 2013
    5:00 - 6:01pm PDT  

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>> john: 27 years ago today, spike lee's first film "she's got to have it" opens in new york city. he's one of our finest filmmakers yet the state of the business is such that he's taken a kick starter to get funding for his latest movie. he's here to talk obama, cinema, how you can help finance his film so do the right thing. that's catchy. i should write that down. dr. rezas a -- aslan, author is here and we'll talk religion and politics and he'll ask why a comedian should be allowed to review a religious scholar. >> dr. sanjay gupta switches gears on the healing powers of cannabis. tonight's f bomb will deal with that if i can remember the words. today is the birthday of dustin
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hoffman who just kicked cancer. he's 76. it is also the birthday of dave evans better known as guitarist of u2. waiting on the next album. and also the birthday of mohamed morsi. he was famously elected president of egypt then driven from power. i like his old stuff. also, paula deen is now more popular among georgia republicans than the reverend dr. martin luther king. these are the same people who think darwin was wrong and they may have just proven themselves right! this is "viewpoint." >> john: good evening, i'm john fuglesang. this is "viewpoint." thank you so much for joining. film making has radically changed, everything from dvds, piracy and a massive shift in viewing habits have revolutionized the way studios think about making films.
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ironman 3 gets massive budgets while others are getting tougher to make. social networking has road this a way of making films just ask mr. spike lee who put his latest project on kick starter. ♪ >> i need you to help me finance my new next film. kick starter. yes, kick starter. >> john: the web site helps a wide variety of businesses get started. anyone cleared can put up a project and solicit donations from the general public. it has a big focus on cinema, projects like a big screen version of the tv show veronica mars or zach braff's film "wish i was here" have gotten a lot of funding and criticism. much coming from people with about half the information they need to have to talk about it.
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enter bloomberg tv's trish regan trying to shout down spike lee about his project. >> you've got a lot of money. you don't need -- >> first of all -- >> i think it is interesting -- >> first of all, first of all, you don't know how much money i have. you never have seen me before in your life. so for you to assume what my financial state is, that's wrong. second of all, i've been doing kick starting before there was kick starting. not finished. can i finish, please? only have six minutes so i would like to get my voice in. >> john: she got schooled by mr. lee. it helped boost the funding of his project. he has $763,000 of the $1.25 million he needs in place there. is only 12 days left. i'm talking to you, the clock is ticking folks. we're pleased to welcome the oscar nominated filmmaker and nyu graduate mr. spike lee. >> as you are. >> john: great to have you.
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>> the butchest name in sports. >> thank you four joining us. >> thank you for having me. >> john: when i took the show over, i had a goal of three dream guests, you were top of the list. i'm happy before al jazeera takes the furniture away, we got to have you on. i want to get the controversy out of the way. you said you would put your own money in the film. >> i have. one was self-financed. reddick summer was self-financed. i'm putting money in this film, too. so it is not like i'm not putting money in my films within the last three decades. >> john: exactly. as far as kick start, we have a mutual friend, ryan denmark who did a facebook posting is that what people don't understand is spike lee has had to fight for funding for every movie he's ever made. >> i wouldn't say every one but it is -- you know, this is the new day of -- it is a new day. for example, steven soderbergh
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is one of the most successful directors in hollywood today. he said i'm done with hollywood as far as film school. i'm just going to deal with cable. and we look at it, the most -- stuff is being done on cable. it is not like the world is coming down on spike lee. this is the landscape, the filmmaking day within the hollywood studio system where they're living or dying by these temples. >> john: michael douglas and matt damon signed on to do the liberace movie. >> great movie. >> john: no one would make it. it broke hbo's viewing records. >> right. >> john: the first night. is that the way it's going to be? >> that and netflix is doing stuff and google is going to do stuff so this whole -- the whole game is changing. and to survive, you have to be able to roll the punches, duck.
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>> john: yeah. >> adapt, be flexible or you're not going to make it. >> john: inside man, i believe is your highest grossing. >> biggest ever. >> john: $184 million worldwide. >> that's not including dvd and the rest of the stuff. >> john: four times the size of the film's publicity stated budget yet you couldn't get funding for a sequel. it is a great script. it is a really smart script. and what happened? is it just what we're look at? the new reality? >> well, i don't know what to say because one thing they do is they do sequels, especially with successful films. >> john: that's a terrific movie. >> i wanted to do it, denzel wanted to do it, clive owen wanted to do it, jodie wanted to do it. i've moved past "inside." right now, i'm about getting the money, getting to that goal for this new film. >> john: tell me what it's about. >> this new film, human beings have many addictions... drugs, sex, alcohol, food,
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money, power. this is about a -- a contemporary film about people addicted to blood but they're not vampires. it is a love story. it is a new kind of love story. this is something i've never done before. it is something i have a lot of fun with. it is sexy. some blood in it. if i said -- as i said before, the way for me to describe it is a new kind of love story. >> john: you have donations from more than 3700 people from all types of backgrounds, economically and socially. 2,000 people have given $20 or less and this includes big names in the business. you've had soderbergh has donated to the project. neil gaman as well as carl deal and tia lessin. steve wozniak of apple, of course. this list includes people like dee rees -- >> student of mine. >> john: you actually are
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casting out of your student base. >> female lead, her name is zara abrams. i discovered her in -- in a thesis on one of my students. it's amazing but i know you named a lot of famous people but when i get tweets saying "spike, i'm down to the last $5 and the choice between noodles and giving you $5, i'm going to go hungry one day so you can make this film." >> john: how does that make you feel? people love your work. >> that chokes me up. that happens a lot. spike, you're my man. i've got $5. $5. i could buy -- go to mcdonald's, get me some noodles, a can of tuna fish and some saltine crackers. but i'm going to go hungry
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tonight. so you can make this film. >> john: what's it feel like for you as a director, all of the ups and downs of your career. not from a studio system? >> that's what makes it so great because that means from -- she's gotta have it to today -- 27 years ago today, "she's gonna have it" opened on the studio on the upper west side. no longer there. only played at one theatre in america for two weeks. and there were lines around the block. >> john: i was at nyu back when that came out. back in the '80s, you and jim were all we were allowed to talk about. >> what it tells me about "from she's gonna have it," 27 years ago today until presently, somehow, of all of the films i've done, all over those three decades, it moved people. it has to. if someone is giving you their last $5, you did a movie.
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you did something. that connected them. and they never forgot it. >> john: that's the power of the media. for me, that's what film making is about. telling stories. >> john: you have an artistic professor of nyu's graduate film program for over ten years now. >> 15 teaching and five as artistic director. >> john: how did that lead you to getting into kick starter? >> well, i teach one day a week. 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. people sign up on my door for half an hour. i have lunch from 1:00 to 2:00. we have class from 2:00 to 5:00. and only teach third year director students. many of my students were using kick starter for their finishing -- to finish their films but there are 5,000, 10,000. then my t.a., julius pryor iii
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said spike, you need to check out kickstart. i said why? veronica mars got $5.5 million. zach braff got $3.5 million. sid to myself oh, snap! i gotta check this out. so i called up, i found out who the cofounders are. two young, very intelligent guys. they thought it up. and they sat me down, said spike, we encourage you to do this but there's going to be some bumps in the road. so i was not surprised by what happened. >> john: i want to also ask about what you're doing in theatre. >> right. >> john: because you recently directed, of course, mike tyson's solo show on broadway and you have an hbo film about it coming out. you also, of course, filmed leguizamo show freak -- >> and passing strange. >> john: you were also working on a stage adaptation of 17. >> that's dead.
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>> john: is theatre something else you want to do more? >> oh, yes. my partner on the mike tyson thing is james -- of the broadway fame and we're talking about bringing one of my films and adapting it to a broadway musical. >> john: are you going to tell us which one? >> well, could be school days, do the right thing or jungle theatre. >> john: i think all three of those work well on stage. >> it depends on who's going to do the music. that's the key thing. >> john: public enemy? >> they'll have a song and do the right thing. he would do the music. someone like stevie wonder. >> john: his stuff was a beautiful soundtrack. we've got more with spike lee. i want to talk to you about cinema, the president and politics as well when we come back. >> did anyone tell the pilgrims they should self-deport?
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>> no, they said "make us a turkey and make it fast". >> (laughter). >> she gets the comedians laughing. >> that's the best! >> that's hilarious. >> ... and the thinkers thinking. >> okay, so there is wiggle room in the ten commandments is what you're telling me. >> she's joy behar. >> ya, i consider you jew-talian. >> okay, whatever you want. >> who plays kafka? >> who saw kafka? >> who ever saw kafka? >> (laughter). >> asking the tough questions. >> chris brown, i mean you wouldn't let one of your daughters go out with him. >> absolutely not. >> you would rather deal with ahmadinejad then me? >> absolutely! >> (singing) >> i take lipitor, thats it. >> are you improving your lips? >> (laughter). >> when she's talking, you never know where the conversation is going to go. >> it looks like anthony wiener is throwing his hat in the ring. >> his what in the ring? >> his hat. >> always outspoken, joy behar. >> and the best part is that current will let me say anything. what the hell were they thinking? >> only on current tv.
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>> john: we are back with academy award nominated filmmaker, spike lee. i want to ask you about something. after the bp debacle in 2010, you told cnn that president obama should go off. i think he heard you because in a few days, we saw him on cnn wondering whose ass i should kick. >> i'm not going to say that was me because michelle probably told him that before i did. [ laughter ] >> john: we have a lot of great progressives on this show. michael moore sat in that seat a couple of weeks ago. >> love his work. >> john: one of the common refrains you hear is people who want to see the president get angry and see him throw stuff around. and i understand that impulse. but isn't the concern -- >> here's the thing though. my man, president barack obama, cannot play the angry black man role. he can't do it. >> john: they'll use it against him. >> he can't do it. he's like -- can't do it. >> john: how do you feel he's doing walking the line? >> the best he can because he
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can't go off like i did. [ laughter ] he can't do what i did to that lady. >> john: he's re-elected. he can do whatever he wants. >> that's not presidential. >> john: you're right. >> but i'm not president of the united states. when someone comes off wrong, i can respond as one would from brooklyn. that was a brooklyn response. the lady was wrong. >> john: it was beautiful. you weren't rude. you just demanded your time. they invited you there and gave you six minutes, they were trying to talk over you. >> john: it has been interesting to see how racism man test -- manifests itself against this president. how arrogant is the new uppity. what has been your observation about the kind of treatment this president has receive and what the face of racism is in this decade? >> well, here's the thing i like to say. it is a very good question. there are many people, not only in the united states but on thissate, god's earth that felt
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that president barack hussein obama, you can say hussein now -- that when he got elected, automatically, racism would be irradicated like that because we were now in the post-racial -- >> john: have a lot of conservative white people telling me that tule. >> i think history has proven that was a fallacy. and racism is interwoven to the very fabric of our american flag. and it's a ways away but it's bubbling. so when something happens, whether it be o.j., trayvon, whatever it is, then it blows up , anderson cooper is having a town meeting. we talk about it. go home. >> john: we have the dialogue. >> we have the dialogue. and then it's like well, let's
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chill until the next blowup happens. >> john: until another president says we need a dialogue on race. >> yes. here's the thing though. look, i'm not a historian. people who study this much more than me. but it is my opinion, ask people in this country until we deal with slavery, nothing is ever going to change. until we get to the nitty-gritty of slavery in this country, to have a serious discussion about that. >> john: and take it seriously. >> and take it seriously, we're still going to have the town meetings every -- >> john: you have these folks in virginia putting up a giant confederate flag on i-95 as a symbol of quitting america to keep people as pets. that's what the confederate flag is to me. you want to keep humans as livestock. >> i'm glad you said that because -- i always try to make an analogy when the stars and bars come up. the same feelings that my jewish
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brothers and sisters see when they see the swastika, that's the way -- i'm not going to speak all 45 million african-americans, speak for myself. when i see the stars and bars, i feel the same way if i was jewish, to see the swastika. it is the same thing. >> john: i think that's why a lot of people felt that tarantino film, "django unchained" was one of the first films to take slavery seriously. i agree with you. i don't think we take racism seriously in this country. i want to ask you about something because i kind of feel at this point, is the problem more tribalism than racism? because you can have the most racist white folks in the world but you bring in a herman cain or a dr. benicarson, is it a black man who looks and votes like them, they've got no problem. >> i would say you have to combine race with class. i don't think that you could leave class -- >> john: the other thing we can't talk about. >> you can't leave class out of the equation. but the republican party has
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wised up. they saw what the united states census bureau said. 2035, 2045, it is coming soon. white americans will be the minority in the united states of america. so if you're look at the numbers and you're a republican -- you're the republican party, numbers don't lie. you're not going to have enough people to vote unless you do that okey-doke red district stuff where you're -- >> john: gerrymandering, cubist painting. >> that's some shenanigans. >> john: that's also them counting on the fact that latinos will be conservatives de facto because they're catholic, right? >> the last presidential election did not say that was true. >> john: exactly right. that's the war the g.o.p. has with themselves right now. >> here's the thing.
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if you only have this small -- just white -- men in their 40s up, they don't have the numbers to win a presidential election. >> john: no. >> so they have to expand. now they're trying to bring women in. now, they're trying to get hispanics in and appeal to the more conservative -- more conservative pockets of african-americans. >> john: they're going to be saying they invented gay marriage in ten years. >> they'll try to spin it that way. >> john: exactly. you and your son jackson did a very beautiful cover. >> one of four. >> john: of course, very recently for the september cover of "ebony" magazine for the we are trayvon issue. it is really moving. where do you think america needs to go from here? it has been a very depressing chapter in our history. i think it was a bit of a triumph there was an arrest and a trial. i was encouraged that --
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>> a few african-american radio stations made bloggers pay attention which made the national media pay attention and liberal and conservative people of conscience said let's get a trial here. where do we go after this acquittal? after people calling this kid, 17 years old, with skittles, a thug and the ugliest possible things? >> you know what, if i gave an answer, i would be lying. i mean, let me answer this question. one of the biggest criticisms of doing the right thing was at the end of that movie, spike lee did not provide the answer to racism and prejudice. i don't know the answer. but i knew that by making this film, maybe it could spark discussions and debate so at least we start talking about it. i don't know if artists -- an artist's job is to come up with answers. >> john: no, i think you're right.
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>> we've got to hold a mirror up and say look, people, this is what has happened! i don't have the answer but this is what's happening and what are we going to do about it? >> john: that's why i think "clockers" was a great film and "jungle fever." it is asking the questions in an entertaining and beautiful way. >> no matter how difficult the subject matter is, we try to put a little humor in it. >> john: i want to ask you briefly about this list you gave of your favorite films, if i could. just to have fun for a second because you gave a list of your essential movies. >> the first day of class, every year, i give out a list of what i tell my students, if you want to be a filmmaker, a real serious filmmaker, you gotta see these films and i call the films off the list and you raise your hand if you've seen the film. >> john: it is a beautiful list. >> it is a beautiful list. but it is heartbreaking. when i have students not seen
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"lawrence of arabia". "red shoes." "on the waterfront". >> john: ace in the hole. >> billy wilder. so i just can't understand how you want to be a filmmaker -- they're in their third year, too. if you want to be a filmmaker, you gotta look at movies. >> john: "kung fu hustle" is on your list. >> a lot of times, anything before i was born, prehistoric. there were great movies made before you were born! >> john: do they get it? >> sometimes they say i hate it but i saw it. >> john: my wife saw "the red shoes" and fell in love with it. >> i gotta give props to martin scorsese. one of his favorite films.
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i had never heard of it. i said i gotta do this because that's my hero. i got that from him and i'm passing it on to my students. >> john: one last question. i thank you for making the time for us today. when you think about your future and do you want to make more political films? both documentary and narrative, i think four little girls -- with the bank stocks that were made. i told you off-camera. malcolm x was one of my dad's favorite movies. my late father took him opening night. >> let me ask you a question real quick. i know we're about out of time. when you said daddy, we're going to the movie tonight. you said malcolm x, what did he say? >> john: we planned to see it. >> whose idea was it? >> i grew up with my dad's biography of "malcolm x" on the shelf. >> john: my dad was a former franciscan brother. he taught malcolm x in brooklyn
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and in the south when he retired. >> where did you grow up? >> on long island. he felt it was the greatest biopic an american had made. i'm inclined to agree. so i thank you for that. >> thank you. >> john: it is a great movie. those are the two best adaptations -- >> warner bros. film came out back to back. >> john: but they both took dense books, made three-hour films that were incredibly entertaining and kept the movement going. thank you for coming here. i thank you for all you've done for film in the past. >> thank you. thank you fortaking your father to see "malcolm x." >> we were the only caucasians. >> did the ticket say malcolm x or another movie? >> john: it said "malcolm x." thank you for all you've given us. >> nyu, baby. >> john: how do people find out more about the kickstarter campaign. >> i'm excited.
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you got me fired up. kickstarter.com/spikelee. as little as $5. >> john: i look forward to your remake of chenoweth park. >> reincarnation. >> john: the one and only spike lee. can i hear it, crew. [ applause ] coming up next, you're going to love this, in the state of georgia, according to public policy polling, paula abdul is more popular than martin luther king. i'm sorry. i meant paula deen is more popular than martin luther king. slight difference there. so that happened is up next. thank you again. >> my man. thank you. ç]
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(vo) later tonight, current tv is the place for compelling true stories. >> jack, how old are you? >> nine. >> this is what 27 tons of marijuana looks like. (vo) with award winning documentaries that take you inside the headlines, way inside. (vo) from the underworld, to the world of privilege. >> everyone in michael jackson's life was out to use him.
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(vo) no one brings you more documentaries that are real, gripping, current. >> john: so when you think of great americans, what are some of the names you admire that come to mind? abraham lincoln, john f. kennedy, martin luther king be and of course, paula deen. just to clarify, that's paula deen, the very nice lady who wanted to plan that true southern plantation-style theme wedding with an all black staff. that paula deen who apparently at one time in her life used the "n" word as often as donald trump calls out his own name at the moment of climax. knowing she had diabetes and was scaling back her own unhealthy diet, directed her following to continue filling their arteries with lard and sugar as she continued to cook dishes that would gross out jabba the hutt.
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she's elevated above martin luther king. according to a public policy polling poll, that is a democratic-leaning polling company, the controversial southern cooking mogul has a whopping 73% favorability rating with georgia republicans while the reverend dr. martin luther king, nobel peace prize laureate, garnered 59% favorability among the same self-identified republicans in the great state of georgia which we love. it is incredibly disheartening to think this is the bar set for favorability. makes you wonder how thomas jefferson and jonas sauk would do with that big match-up with justin bieber in the same poll. coming on to me all the time now. (vo) she gets the comedians laughing and the thinkers thinking. >>ok, so there's wiggle room in the ten commandments, that's what you're saying. you would rather deal with ahmadinejad than me. >>absolutely. >> and so would mitt romney. (vo) she's joy behar. >>and the best part is that
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current will let me say anything. what the hell were they thinking?
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>> john: it is the religious interview seen around the world even though it wasn't on this program. the intrepid religious correspondent green grilling aslan about why he would want to write a book about jesus when he's a muslim. it was odd. it was curious. then it was sad. >> you're a muslim so why did you write a book about the founder of christianity? >> well, to be clear, i am a scholar of religion with four degrees, including one in the new testament and fluency in biblical greek who has been studying the origins of christianity for two decades who also just happens to be a muslim. >> just says so your book is written with clear bias and you're trying to say it is academic. that's like having a democrat
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write a book about why reagan doesn't a good republican. >> it would be like a democrat with a ph.d. in reagan who has been studying his life and history for two decades writing a book. >> john: or like fox news saying you have clear bias. here's why he's qualified, ms. green. reza aslan holds a b.a. in scripture, a master of theological studies, a ph.d. from u.c. santa barbara, his dissertation was global jihaddism as a transnational social movement. he held departments in the department of religion at the university of iowa and drew university. he's an expert in the history of religions and is fluent in biblical greek, a degree in sociology of religion, master of fine arts from the university of iowa. he still can't decide on a major. he's also the author of a new book you might have heard of... "zealot". we loved his work. please welcome to the show, reza aslan. >> john, great to be on the
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show. >> john: great to have you. at what point during that interview, did you realize how awesome it would be for you and your book? >> i actually honestly did not. i knew that they were going to go after me. it is kind of what fox news does. so i expected the first couple of questions, sometime around the 7th or 8th minute when we're still talking about me and not the book, i sort of realized what was happening but honestly, when it was over, i thought well, that was surreal and had no idea that it would become this weird kind of global phenomenon that it's become. >> john: indeed. i want to ask what is the dialogue that started as a result of all of this that you felt needed to begin? >> well, first of all, as just an academic who sits around talking to other academics about the issues such as journalism and media integrity and the role of religion in society and scholarship and faith, to have these conversations actually
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take place in public and in the media is absolutely thrilling for me. it is not even about me or the book anymore. i'm just kind of like this interested bystander watching this entire conversation take place. but frankly, obviously it has been good for the book. i mean, this book has reached an audience that normally would not be reading a book about the historical jesus and for that, i'm grateful. >> john: as a fan of yourself and as a fan of discussions on the historical jesus, i thank you and i thank ms. green. did you get the feeling though that the interview wasn't so much about your religion or what she thought of your religion but was perhaps more about throwing red meat to an islam mow phobic viewing base? >> this is a news station that has spun anti--- this is a news station that has these quote-unquote so-called experts
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who forget about their scholarly or their religious affiliations are actually literally designated as hate group leaders. pamela gellar, robert spencer, these are people that the adl and the southern poverty law center have said are leaders of hate groups. who come on as experts of islam. so this is a news program that knows exactly what it's doing and has been quite successful in doing it. and you know, they've been trying to convince americans for most of the last decade that you know, muslims are going to sneak into their homes and eat their children. so it is what they do. >> john: that's why we say fox news is a mecca for people who hate mecca. but this may come as a shock, i would like to discuss what's in your book. >> okay. >> john: a lot of conventional wisdom says that jesus christ was a lone voice of dissent against an occupying european empire in the first century holyland. you say that's overstated. now, i saw sparticus.
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they had a lot of crucifixions. a lot of people against them. what did your research show? >> it is not just overstate. it is historically incorrect. there were many, many, many people, prophets, preachers, charismatic wonderworkers, many of whom called themselves messiah. i write about ten or 12 of them in the book who walked around the holyland, gathering followers, curing the sick, casting out demons, talking about the kingdom of god and promising liberation from roman occupation and almost every single one of them experienced the same end as jesus. this was an incredibly tumultuous era, an era that was a wash, an an appear okay liptist expectation. jesus was one of these figures who walked the land at the time. the entire point of the book is to try to put him in the context of his time and place, to try to understand his message by
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recognizing what everybody else who was making similar claims was saying and to say that perhaps jesus was meaning the same thing. >> john: as a nonviolent revolutionary, it always seemed to me, speaking of jesus, it always seemed to me that paul was more of a zealot than christ. jesus did stand up to the roman empire but as you know, he advocated his followers to pay taxes. he famously -- with the centurian, he held the teenaged lover, you know in the greek, the word is beloved boy. that's why the apostles were so upset. when they came to arrest him, the jack sandaled thugs of roman army, he said to have a nonviolence response and not take up arms against them. why would you call jesus a zealot? >> i would disagree with a lot that you just said. >> john: great. hit me. >> before they go into the garden, jesus tells his followers to arm themselves. if you do not have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.
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before they go hide out in the garden which by the way is not a garden. it is a forest. it is where you go to hide from the authorities and indeed, it is where the authorities go and find him. he never told his followers to pay his taxes. surrender on to cesar comment which is what king james bible says is not what jesus said. he said -- give back to cesar the property that belongs to caesar and give back to god the property that belongs to god. don't forget. he's looking at a coin and he says whose picture is this? caesar's? whose name is this? caesar's? give it back to caesar's because it's his. give the land back to god because it's his. these are treasonist words. in fact, one of the many things he's accused of, when he's brought before the san heed ron is refusing to pay the tribute. the bottom line is this, if you are a pass pass physic --
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pacifistic preacher of good works with no interest the in cares of this world, a gentle shepherd whose kingdom is not of this world but in heaven, then rome wouldn't care less about you. but if rome seizes you, tortures you and executes you as a state criminal which is after all, what crucifixion was, it was a punishment for state criminals for treason, then you were probably a bit of a -- i believe the term is bad ass. >> john: okay. i'm going to debate you with buying a sword during the break. well have plenty more with reza aslan including the melding of religion and politics after the break. >> nine. >> this is what 27 tons of marijuana looks like. (vo) with award winning documentaries that take you inside the headlines, way inside. (vo) from the underworld, to the world of privilege. >> everyone in michael jackson's life was out to use him. (vo) no one brings you more documentaries that are real, gripping, current.
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this show is about analyzing, criticizing, and holding policy to the fire. are you encouraged by what you heard the president say the other night? is this personal, or is it political? a lot of my work happens by doing the things that i'm given to doing anyway, by staying in touch with everything that is going on politically and putting my own nuance on it. in reality it's not like they actually care. this is purely about political grandstanding. i've worn lots of hats, but i've always kept this going. i've been doing politics now for a dozen years. (vo) he's been called the epic politics man. he's michael shure and his arena is the war room. >> these republicans in congress that think the world ends at the atlantic ocean border and pacific ocean border. the bloggers and the people that are sort of compiling the best of the day. i do a lot of looking at those people as well. not only does senator rubio just care about rich people, but somehow he thinks raising the minimum wage is a bad idea for the middle class. but we do care about them right?
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>> john: i'm talking about fox news favorite reza aslan. thank you for sticking around. >> my pleasure. >> john: let's set aside your book. i want to ask you about something, most people of faith, i would argue, conservative, moderate, progressive, are peaceful, they get along with each other just fine. it is extreme far fundamentalists of all religions who are the ones who do cause problems for the rest of us. who do you think are the zealots of today? >> very good question. i mean first of all, zealotry means something different today than it meant in jesus time. today it has a negative connotation. in jesus' time, it did not. most jews and jesus' time would have proudly referred to
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themselves as zealots for the lord. it meant an uncompromising devotion to the sole sovereignty of god. the refusal to serve the master of the universe and the dedication to the torah, the law of moses. all of which you can say about jesus and his teachings. nowadays, of course, zealotism means people on the extreme and it is not just religious extremes, as you know, it is political extremes, as well. in fact, they're often married together. my view about jesus is that you know, if he were alive today, first of all, he would be confused about a lot of things but he would be very confused at the message that those who pretend to preach in his name are giving. in fact, in is a man whose entire ministry was founded upon rejecting institutions, rejecting the idea that there can be a gate keeper to salvation. i think that he would be very shocked at the number of gatekeepers to salvation who have set themselves up in jesus'
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own name. >> john: the self-exulted who thinks god needs cash. i can help you get to them. i'm working for current. this network is going away next week. it will become al jazeera america. i've gotten charming insight into the welcome they can expect from our charming right wing friends. what are the biggest misconceptions, to you, here in america, at this point in time, about muslims and the islamic faith? >> that it's different. i think that's the thing. even intelligent people who understand there are many forms of christianity and there's a difference between moderate or progressive christians and let's say, you know, fundamentalists, bible thumpers, nevertheless have a hard time understanding that's true for muslims, as well. people who understand that oh, you can be culturally christian and you know, more or less believe in this stuff but not be all that serious about it, can't understand that that actually
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happens for the majority of muslims as well. there is this idea that somehow islam, as a religion, is different. it's special. it's unique in some way. that the same literary and historical and cultural and ethnic and national influences that have affected every religion in the world somehow skipped islam. that it's monolithic in some way. and of course, this is pretty standard -- it is what we do. we think that somebody who is not us is somehow the opposite of us. and that's what islam has become in this country. just this sort of quintessential other. >> john: by people who forget it is all the same god. you're also, of course, an adjunct senior fellow with the council on foreign relations. you were born in iran. do you see anything, possibly positive changing with the election of a more moderate leader? i ask because most people believe the mullahs are really
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running the show every there. >> the mullahs are running the show. the atoll la is running the show. he has the last word about foreign policy and what happens with regard to iran's nuclear program but he's actually kind of been fairly open to negotiations and has made it clear that iran is willing to do what it takes to prove it is not building a bomb, in exchange for something from the united states which is the end of sanctions or at least a road map to the end of sanctions. the problem, to be honest, isn't so much who's the president of iran. the problem is that there are these very loud voices in the u.s. and in israel and in saudi arabia who do not want negotiations with iran, who want a military response. and ahmadinejad has been their perfect poster child. even though ahmadinejad is no more or less powerful than president ruani is, just having this guy out there spouting his
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nonsense, really made the argument for the conservatives and the militants in israel, the u.s. and saudi arabia, for them. now, that that guy is gone and we have a moderate who has no interest in that kind of rhetoric, it sort of deflates, if you will, the militant argument in the west and hopefully will allow some of the more moderate voices in the u.s. to actually hold sway when it comes to negotiations with iran. i think the road is open. the door has been opened. we just need to make sure that we step in it with some confidence-building measures. >> john: i think you're right. the majority of iranians are more than 50% under the age of 35. >> 70%. >> john: amazing. it fills me with optimism that we can move beyond the ultra conservatives here and there. reza aslan, what a pleasure. i'm sorry i wasn't ruder to you. i know you're used to that these days. author of the essential book "the zealot."
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thank you so much for joining us on "viewpoint." >> thank you. >> john: coming up, pot, good. according to cnn and george washington. the f bomb is next. at 9 eastern. >> i'm a slutty bob hope. the troops love me. tv and radio talk show host stephanie miller rounds out current's morning news block. you're welcome current tv audience for the visual candy. (vo) sharp tongue. >>excuse me? (vo) quick wit. >> and yes, president obama does smell like cookies and freedom. (vo) and above all, opinion and attitude. >> really?! this is the kind of stuff they say about something they just pulled freshly from their [bleep]. >> you know what those people are like. >> what could possibly go wrong in eight years of george bush? >> my producer just coughed up a hairball. >>sorry. >>just be grateful current tv doesn't come in "smell-o-vision" >> oh come on!
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the sweatshirt is nice and all, but i could use a golden lasso. (vo)only on current tv.
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>> did anyone tell the pilgrims they should self-deport? >> no, they said "make us a turkey and make it fast". >> (laughter). >> she gets the comedians laughing. >> that's the best! >> that's hilarious. >> ... and the thinkers thinking. >> okay, so there is wiggle room in the ten commandments is what you're telling me. >> she's joy behar. >> ya, i consider you jew-talian. >> okay, whatever you want. >> who plays kafka? >> who saw kafka? >> who ever saw kafka? >> (laughter). >> asking the tough questions. >> chris brown, i mean you wouldn't let one of your daughters go out with him. >> absolutely not. >> you would rather deal with ahmadinejad then me? >> absolutely! >> (singing) >> i take lipitor, thats it. >> are you improving your lips? >> (laughter). >> when she's talking, you never know where the conversation is going to go. >> it looks like anthony wiener is throwing his hat in the ring. >> his what in the ring? >> his hat. >> always outspoken, joy behar. >> and the best part is that current will let me say anything. what the hell were they
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thinking? >> only on current tv. >> john: remember when we were kids and they told us all of that scary propaganda about pot, all of the terrible things pot does to your brain? i can't recall any of it right now but what the they tell us back then? pot makes you violent and lazy. well, making violent people lazy could be the only crime prevention plan that works. i'll kill you man right after this burrito. this is why kids don't take the drug war seriously. all drugs are bad but the problem society faces isn't that all drugs are bad. it is that some drugs are fun! addiction is bad. overdosing is bad. making stupid choices when you're high is bad. and all you potheads potheads wo see "the lone ranger" know what i'm talking about. i was thinking about that when cnn's chief medical correspondenten sanjay gupta
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renounced his previous stand against cannabis. let me read the doctor's quote... i have been protesting against the law. there is no evidence that medicinal use has caused or is causing cannabis addiction, the prevention of the use of the drug for medicinal purposes can accomplish no good end whatsoever. oh wait. that's tule not sanjay gupta. that quote comes from dr. william woodward's testimony to congress when the american medical association opposed making cannabis illegal back in 1937. dr. gupta apologized for dissing challenge cannabis saying it does have legitimate application and we've been misled about that for 70 years which is good because getting stoned is the only way some of us can still watch cnn. they're not going to hire me, who cares. medical marijuana or marijuana
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in general existed in america long before bob dylan gave it to the beatles a few blocks from here back in 1964 which means if you're against cannabis, you have to throw out every album made by bob, the beatles or george, paul, john or ringo. while you're out throwing away your ringo solo records, cannabis has been here longer than white people. washington and jefferson grew it. it was used as a painkiller. ben franklin started the first colonial printing paper using hemp paper. legendary industrialist william randolph hurst didn't like the competition from more natural hemp paper. dupont chemical was threatened by the natural properties. hurst papers began using the spanish slang term marijuana to capitalize on the anti-mexican racism. it was made illegal back in 1937. in '70, president nixon signed the controlled substance act making cannabis a schedule one controlled substance alongside drugs like heroin and pcp
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gaining to be be more harmful than cocaine. the prison industrial complex has benefited mightily from locking up thousands of nonviolent drug offenders for possession. more recently, michael phelps proved if an autograph's photographed with a bong, it is a scandal. i'm talking to you, president obama because i know you watch current. medical marijuana is at 75% approval. 76% among doctors. you, mr. president are at 49% approval. when you ran, you promised to leave california's clinics alone. you broke that promise. i'm not the guy who made eric holder do it. i'm not saying make pot legal although dshed be mandatory for congress. one of two parties is going to take did up. it will be the winner for them the way marriage equality was for democrats. we've had three presidents who smoked weed in the past but had no trouble locking people up for the same. if they thought it was evil, they would turn themselves in. we don't have to criminalize and tax yet, for now, stop putting people in jail for possession and use because at this point,
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the only safe growth that's left are medical cannabis and tattoo removal. that's our show for tonight. four more shows to go. this is current. we're still here. good night, mom. >> joy: who said al gore left us with nothing? plus, i'll sit down with one of the couples from the hit bravo series newlyweds. and law & order actress elisabeth rome is here to talk about her struggle with infertility. all of that and more next. >> joy: like a lot of people, i get most of my medical